Showing posts from June, 2011

How I Came to Be Here

By Belinda  (This is a reworking of a post first published a few years ago and I submitted it to for Canada Day. I'm not sure if it will be published there but thought I would post it here anyway! Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow--Canada Day.) A couple of years ago on Canada Day weekend, when our youngest grandson was just five, he sat between Paul and me in a church pew one Sunday morning. He was scribbling on an offering envelope when he suddenly looked up with wide eyes and said, "Omie, when you used to live in England, did you just get on a plane and fly over here?" I smiled and said, "No, Sweetie, we came on a boat." "You came on a boat?" he echoed, eyes growing wider. "Yes, and a cat named   Tibby   and a Myna bird named Jasper came with us." "They did? Where are they now?" he wanted to know. "Oh, it was a very long time ago and they grew old and died," I said. "Oh," he said, going back

Stupid Pie

This is the last week of school--the week the girls had been practising for; the week to bake their teacher's pies: One for Ms Gallant and one for Ms Barr. I asked them yesterday if they wanted to make the pie all in one go or make the pastry one night and peel the apples the next. They voted for the two step method. Making pie is hard work for small hands! So last night the pastry was made and stored in separate zip-loc bags and tonight we entered phase two--the peeling of the apples, adding the sugar, cinnamon and flour and then the spraying of the pie plates with Pam and rolling out the pastry. The girls were giddy and giggly. Tippy whipped out her I Pod touch to consult on quantities but for sugar quantity looked quickly and said, "One!" "One what?" "One tablespoon!" "Check again!" They thought that one cup of sugar was a vast quantity--and I suppose it really is. In the middle of Tippy's rolling out of pastry my frie

Golden Boy Calls in the Big Guns

By Belinda We were on the last leg of our walk around the village one evening last week. We were climbing the hill that joins our road, almost home. Down the hill on the end of a lead, held onto by a woman being dragged along, came the big Great Dane that lives in the only house on the side of the hill. She was a slightly built woman, with short, brown curly hair and she was dressed in jeans and a t shirt. I was relieved that he was on a lead. He's scared me more than once, bounding loose across the road. I made a light hearted comment meant to be friendly. "Is that a dog or a horse?" But as the words left my lips, to my horror, I could see that the dog was clearly in charge and the lead was not holding him back at all. Dragging the woman behind him, he was making a beeline for Molson, and snarling as he got closer. It happened so suddenly and he, twice the height of Molson, was biting and snapping at the top of Molson's head, as he snarled back in defen

In the Arms of the Angels # 2

My cousin Deb, who lives in Spain, recommended the Josh Groban and Sarah MacLachlan version of this. I'm not sure if this is the exact version she meant but I am sharing it for its beauty. I love the raw talent/voice of the previous version I posted too.

In the Arms of the Angels

I just checked out Afsoon and Shapour's blog (they had left a comment on my last post) and they had posted this amazing song on their blog. I just had to share it. Belinda

Celebrating Seeing

By Belinda On Thursday the cataract on my right eye was removed and a beautiful new lens implanted. I am the recipient of a modern medical miracle and so very grateful. The surgery went perfectly and as I lay on the stretcher in the recovery room, through the clear plastic eye shield, I looked at the clock on the wall and saw the time. Right after the operation! I have seen only fuzzy shapes through that eye for so long, and felt so inhibited because I couldn't see the expression on people's faces when they were any distance away. We rely so much on facial cues--you take it for granted when you see clearly. I am grateful, grateful, grateful. I thank God and bless the hands of the skilled surgeon who did the operation: Dr. Leslie Landecker. My daughter-in-law, Sue, put this song up on Facebook in celebration of my new sight. It says exactly what I feel!

Chief Credentials

By Belinda I journal sporadically, and this morning I opened my leather bound Nationwares  journal for the first time in a few days and discovered that the last entry was last Friday, my first morning at Write! Canada. You've been with me on the journey, but I hope you can stand just one more post on the topic to bring it all full circle; from one Friday to the next, with so much in between! I wrote: Friday, June 17, 2011 A few precious moments before the day begins, here on this holy ground, my 11th Write! Canada. I had some moments of self doubt coming here this year. Was I writing enough to call myself a writer? Whatever He says, the blog I write, has evolved, and I write less of a devotional genre and more light hearted humour and family stories, interspersed with leadership epiphanies and inspiration. Is this what I am meant to write? Is it enough? Is it fluff? So doubtful did I feel that at the gala on Wednesday night, when the call was given for all writers and edit

Encircled by Love

By Belinda My friend Bonnie and I drove home from Write! Canada  ; my trusty old Honda Civic laden with her luggage and registrar paraphernalia and my copious baggage. In spite of determining to only buy one book this year, I came home with four copies of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider  an anthology by the best of the best writers of The Word Guild . These are the some of the writers of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider --a group of gifted story tellers from the east and west of Canada and everywhere in between. Can I whisper a secret? If there is a Third Cup of Hot Apple Cider I plan to submit something! It doesn't matter if I don't get in, but I plan to try. I have a story in mind already. I brought home copies of Tim Huff's books: Bent Hope  and  Dancing with Dynamite  and 2 copies of Nikki Rosen's In the Eye of Deception  (we put up signs around the conference on the first day and hearing a tiny bit of her story, when I heard she had written it down in a bo


Zechariah 4:10 New International Version (NIV)   10  “Who dares despise the day of small things... By Belinda I have a ritual at Write! Canada. I love to get up early while my room mate still snoozes blissfully on; shower, dress and put on my make up. Then, trying not to wake her, I fumble around the dark room trying to remember where I left things the night before, feeling my way over unfamiliar furniture until my fingers find what I am looking for: my Bible, Daily Light, and journal. Clutching my precious bundle of books and my room key, I unlock the door as quietly as I can and tiptoe down the hallway and into the long, almost empty lounge.   There are usually one or two other early risers there in the dim morning light, fingers quietly tapping away at laptops. I find my own quiet corner with a seat turned away from others.  This is always a time when I feel so close to God--a time set apart, away from the distractions of home--the mental "to do" list

A Writer in Need of Direction

By Belinda On Thursday morning I got up early to drive to Guelph Bible Conference grounds for  Write! Canada  the annual writers conference organized by The Word Guild . My friends Susan Stewart and Claire Alexander were not attending this year and I missed them. But I did look forward to seeing other old and dear friends and the sun shone brightly as my beat-up but faithful old Honda Civic wound its way up the drive of the conference centre, and into the grounds with their beautifully kept gardens, shaded by tall trees and dotted with Adirondack chairs. I arrived at 10.00 am, in plenty of time to put up signs around the conference centre and be ready to help my friend Bonnie, the registrar, when two hundred or more writers and faculty arrived for registration at 12.30 pm. A sense of anticipation hung in the air. The pre-conference quietness was pregnant with promise and under girded with the prayers of the sixty or so strong strong prayer team that supports this organization.

A Sudden Sinking

By Belinda What is it that causes a total loss of confidence? I don't know, I only know that on the day I drew this now aged sketch, I experienced a loss that I have never regained--the confidence that I can stay afloat when out of my depth in water. I was fifteen, at a lake somewhere close to Rotterdam, in Holland, withTante Hannelore and the daughter of a friend of hers. It was an impromptu trip to the lake, and the girl, whose name was Ria and who was a couple of years older than me, had loaned me one of her bathing suits. Ria was tall, with long tanned limbs and short blond hair. At fifteen, I was only just beginning to emerge from teenage puppy fat and I really would have much preferred to stay at the side of the lake and draw, but I didn't know how to say that without offending them, so I didn't. I sat by the side of the beautiful lake, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my back as I sketched the tall poplars reflected in the water; the boats, and the boat ho

Catching Up

By Belinda Note: My apologies for the fact that this is long and a bit scattered. I wanted to catch you up--more is yet to come... The day flew by on Thursday. I was at the hospital in Newmarket by 8.30 in the morning for a consultation with the anaesthesiologist in preparation for eye surgery next week. The instructions said to be prepared to be there for 3-4 hours, so I took along a good book. I felt a little like a parcel at the post office being stamped and labelled and sent off on a long journey through various places in the hospital as my blood pressure was taken and forms were filled out. But eventually I was passed as healthy and fit for surgery. Since I was at the same hospital that Paul's mum had just been moved to, I decided to pop up to the 6th floor, even though it wasn't visiting hours yet, hoping to see her. The nurses welcomed me and said to go right in. I stayed until her lunch arrived, marvelling at the spunk of this woman. Even if her red hair had long
By Belinda "When generations meet and blend, old and young hearts meet as friends" That is the quote beneath this beautiful painting in the dining room at the Guelph Bible Conference Grounds, where I am at the moment, at Write! Canada. I asked permission to take a photo of it and had to share it here so that you, too, might enjoy it! I love it for reasons that will be obvious to readers of this blog!:)

The Very Busy Day

By Belinda It has been a wildly busy day. This week I am preparing for eye surgery, which is next week on Thursday. I have three pre-op appointments today and tomorrow; and the one tomorrow, is 3-4 hours. And it is the week of The Word Guild Awards Gala  and Write! Canada , a conference, two events I would not miss if I could help it. This morning I went for one appointment, with my ophthalmologist. He peered into my eye and asked it I could leave my contacts out for a few days. I must have winced because by his reaction I felt compelled to explain that I am going to a gala tomorrow night. He was so interested in the gala and wanted to know what I was wearing. "I haven't decided," I said, "But probably something I already have." He laughed. I guess he has a wife and daughters and knows something about women because upon thinking it over as I left his office, I headed for the mall--where I had been going to buy some shoes, but now I decided to also see if

The Definitely Doted Upon Dog

By Belinda I have not written lately about Molson, my beloved furry friend, so here is what's going on in his life. He is not living up to his job description as a stud dog, I am afraid to say. He recently had a "date." He booked into his home kennel and the kennel owner arranged a romantic rendezvous for several days, with special quarters so that he and the "lady" in question could get acquainted with no distractions. We missed him terribly; our house was like an empty shell without him. After a few days he came home to his ecstatic family, having had a hair cut and pedicure, but no romance, and it wasn't the lady's fault; he just wasn't that into it. He is not a macho dog at all, although he is making progress and will now bark back when another dog barks aggressively at him. Tori came upstairs looking for Brenda, who was debriefing her day over a cup of tea this evening. "Molson was stuck in the bathroom!" she said to Bren

Fruit from God's Table

My team at work gave me two beautiful books for my birthday. One of them is Where There is Love, There is God by Mother Theresa. What a precious gift this book is. I can tell already that it is going to nourish my soul every time I read. And you know I'll be sharing here! :) This morning I read of the words on the back of her "business card." On the front were the words, "God Bless You," and her signature. On the back were these words--good words for Sabbath--and every day: The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.

Philip Yancey Coming to Toronto

Note: The writing of Philip Yancey has been such a blessing in my life and he is coming to Toronto! Here is the information on when and where: P hilip Yancey, the multiple Gold Medallion winning author and editor-at-large of Christianity Today, is presenting two seminars in Toronto on July 01, 2011.  The Bayview Glen Church (300 Steeles Ave East) will host the lecture "Communicating Faith to a Skeptical Society" from 8:30 am to 12:00 Noon.  Queensway Cathedral (1536 The Queensway) will host the talk "What Good is God? In search of Faith that matters" from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. There will be opportunities for Q&A and Book signing at both these events. The events are free, but RSVP may be required. Please visit the site: for more information.

The Pie Goes On

By Belinda I checked in before she left for school this morning to make sure that Tippy did not forget her pies. "I've got them all ready to go," she called up to me. Of course. Did I think that after all of that hard work she'd forget? You might guess that I had some investment in the pies that she had made for the  bake sale --and you would have guessed correctly. :) I happened to be home at 4.00, when I heard the door open and bang shut and the sound of her feet running down the stairs. I gave her a few minutes, but then I could wait no longer and went downstairs to end my suspense. "How did the bake sale go?" I asked. "Great!" she said, "I sold every piece of pie." "That's wonderful! How much did they sell for?" I asked. "Well, I told them how much you sell yours for," she said (that's $20 to raise money for the Power of One,) "so they cut them into 10 slices and sold them for $2 each.&

A Quick Postlet

By Belinda Mum B is so much better today. She has had a tube inserted to drain the fluid from the gall bladder and is comfortable and not in pain. We are deeply grateful to know that she is getting well again and give thanks to God.

The Apprentice

By Belinda According to the radio. the weather today was  "breezy and steamy"  in Ontario. It felt like 40 degrees with the humidity, but I had a baking date with Tippy and a promise is a promise. She told me last week that she needed two pies for a bake sale at school on Friday and she was excited about baking them herself. So tonight, armed with her i pod, where she had typed in the ingredients,  she was ready to roll. My part was simply to coach; to encourage confidence--and (I confess) tidy up the mess afterwards! Well, she had baked two pies entirely without help except for Tori coming up to help peel and slice apples. It is quite a lot of work. I found some perfect pie apples at Costco. They are called "Red Prince," and they come from Waterloo, Ontario. But does anyone know how we have apples from Waterloo when it isn't apple season yet? One finished and one more lid to go. Brenda came upstairs and obliged us by taking a photo t

A Mum Update

By Belinda I arrived at the hospital in the early afternoon. I had already picked up a message on my cell phone from Paul saying that Mum's night had been better. As I climbed to the third floor of the large open plan hospital I looked down to the food court on the ground floor and waved to Paul's brother and two sisters who were sitting there, having a bite to eat. That was a good sign, I thought. When I got to her room though, I could hear sounds of distress. Mum was lying with her eyes closed, obviously dealing with pain. Her nurse came in and explained that when she had turned Mum over for a bed bath, it seemed to trigger the pain she was suffering. Mum characteristically put on the best face possible when the nurse came to check on her, but I told her, "This is 'British stiff upper lip,' she is in a lot of pain." Before too long, Paul arrived with the rest of the family, and shortly after an assessment by the nurse manager on duty, we all made way

A Prayer Request

By Belinda This seems like the easiest way to reach our friends to ask for prayer. Paul's mum, who had a stroke a week ago today, was doing really well in her recovery from the stroke, but has become ill with a gall stone and severely inflamed and infected gall bladder and liver. She was in excruciating pain yesterday but they are managing the pain better today. She is on massive antibiotics. The doctor said that her stroke was unlucky, but that being in the hospital for this problem was a very good thing. He said that she is a very strong person and that is in her favour. They don't think she would come through surgery. We are trusting God with this precious and much loved mother, grandmother and great grandmother. We know she is in good hands, but we treasure each prayer on her behalf.

Rites of Friendship

Note from Belinda My dear friend  Dave  sent me an email today as he prepared to leave for a while. It was so beautifully written (which is what comes of having writers for friends) and it made me feel that I might  be proud to have inscribed on my headstone one day, simply, "She baked a good pie." And you can be sure that Ruby, too, shall have pie! :) By Dave Hingsburger   The weekend before we begin a long lecture trip is one that has become full of traditions. Being away for a long time means incredible organizing. Everything has to be made ready, lists made, items ticked off, everything double checked. At our age this means everything from ensuring that we have enough of our medications to last and that we've packed a book or two for those long airplane trips. By the time we get to the weekend before, we are pretty much organized, then it's the job of getting ourselves emotionally ready for life out of a suitcase, life on the road. No matter how much they

The One Rabbit Rule

By Belinda After three busy days it was Thursday before I found myself at my office this week. Opening my door on its quietness had the feel of entering a sanctuary, an island of peace in a wild ocean of work. I unzipped the briefcase, unpacked and plugged in my laptop and mentally rehearsed the list of issues that I needed to follow up on and soon I was making the first phone call of the day. At the other end of the phone was a colleague at our corporate office--the person to help me with one item. I can tell when someone is trying hard to be patient. I imagined that I was just one of many people calling to work out the many issues she had on the go that day. In fact her whole job is dealing with people like me who come to her with paperwork completed "creatively," rarely correctly, by our staff and their doctors.   After I hung up the phone, with several file folders open on my desk by this point, I checked my email. My in-box had escaped my control during the past we

I Think I May Have Passed on a Torch--Technically

By Belinda Tippy and Tori had joined me for supper upstairs one night this week. As she munched on grilled cheese on toast, Tippy said, "We're having a bake sale at school for the track team. I need a pie." "You've got it!" I said. Then I caught myself, remembering our great pie practice session  of the previous week. "But you  could bake it." "I know. I want to," said Tippy eagerly. So as we continued our supper, I drilled her on the ingredients. She and Tori racked their brains and came up with them one by one: the flour, salt, shortening, water, vinegar and egg for the pastry and the apples, cinnamon, flour, sugar and margarine for the filling. When I began to test her for the second time, on the quantities of each, Tippy had an idea, "Wait a minute, I'll get a piece of paper and a pen--NO, I'm going to put it into my  ipod touch  !" Right there she entered the apple pie recipe into the handy tool whil